Munich, July 2020 | Category: COVID-19
COVID-19 – MASSIVE DAMAGE AND MANY OPEN QUESTIONS.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted massive damage on the global economy. The automotive sector in particular has been hit hard. In Germany vehicle sales between January and May 2020 declined 35% year-on-year. In China, which owing to the New Year festivities usually sees a slower start into the new calendar year sales declined by 27% year-on-year over the same period. In the US, where the pandemic hit with some delay compared with China and Germany, the resulting year-on-year decline in new car sales was 23% (which includes a 8% increase in year-on-year sales in February).
There is reason to be cautiously optimistic about China. In May the country recorded its first month of year-on-year vehicle sales growth in almost two years. However, such signs have yet to materialize elsewhere. In Germany the best news thus far has been that sales where only down 50% in May year-on-year after that
figure had read 61% in April. In the US new car sales were down 30% year-on-year in May up from a minus of 47% in April. As uncertainty prevails many unresolved questions remain. Besides the future course of the pandemic many concern one of the pandemic’s other key unknowns: the customer. The customer is the key determinant on the road to economic recovery. Customer behavior will determine the timing and the scale of the rebound.
We at Berylls believe it is imperative to fully understand customer sentiments in the crisis first. From April to May this year, we therefore
conducted an online customer survey among prospective car buyers. By asking more than 3,000 participants in the three core markets Germany, United States and China, we sought answers to four pivotal questions:
1. How much of an impact has COVID-19 had on potential car buyers and how optimistically or pessimistically do they look into the future at the moment?
2. How has the crisis affected their intention to buy a vehicle in terms of timing and budget?
3. How will the crisis likely affect their choices in terms of price segment, vehicle size and brand?
4. How have customers’ attitudes toward electric and shared mobility changed as a result of COVID-19?